High gas prices won't deter 10-car caravan to VW show

Tasha and Jason Gardner haven't missed the Bugorama car show in Sacramento for 13 years, and high gas prices aren't keeping them away now.

"We're expecting about 10 Volkswagens in our caravan to Sacramento this weekend," Tasha Gardner said Monday.

More people plan to travel Memorial Day weekend, even though gas prices have increased. Those who are kicking back this weekend say the extra dollars at the pump will keep them at home, according to a new survey from AAA Nevada.

Dan Turner is usually part of the VW caravan. This year, he's decided to stay local because of gas prices. He'll carpool with friends to the Sparks Marina and South Shore for some cycling.

"I'm tired of paying the gas prices," he said.

The average cost for a gallon of regular gas in Carson City is $3.24, 81 cents higher than it was a year ago in mid-May, the travel organization reported.

Michael Geeser, spokesperson for AAA Nevada, said gas prices was the No. 1 reason people gave for traveling less, or not at all, this summer. The next highest reason was growing concern about personal finances. Gas prices are expected to remain high until the end of summer - when demand decreases.

AAA Nevada estimates more than 313,000 Nevadans will travel 50 miles or more for the three-day weekend, which is less than 1 percent of an increase from last year.

About 85 percent of survey respondents said they'll drive. More than 48,000 Nevadans said they plan to travel by plane.

The Gardners will meet friends and other members of the SloGoin' VW car club of Carson City at noon Saturday in the old Wal-Mart parking lot, drive to the Sacramento Raceway in their 1971 white VW bus, admire other cars at the Sunday show 'n' shine, shop the swap meet, and cheer at the drag races.

Excluding possible Memorial Day traffic holdups, they expect to spend about $50 in gas, fill up the 11-gallon tank twice, and spend about six hours driving.

Although they've canceled trips to Sand Mountain, in Churchill County, because of high gas prices, the Gardners won't pass up a chance to honor the German auto. They own eight VWs.

"They have style, and they are inexpensive to fix and feed compared to other cars," she said.

Tami Tersteege and her fiance, Dave, also plan on staying close to home. It costs about $25 to fill the tank of her 1993 Toyota Paseo. When the couple marry in October, they'll probably take a honeymoon cruise.

"No driving," she said.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

Holiday travel

• Nevadans can expect nearly all aspects of travel to be more expensive this year. AAA's Leisure Travel Index shows flights over the holiday weekend averaging 10 percent more this year than last year. Hotel rates will also be up about 5 percent from a year ago. The greatest increase is in rental car rates - up about 19 percent from a year ago - adding almost $6 to the average daily car rental rate, the highest average rate for a Memorial Day weekend in the past six years.

• Nationwide, AAA estimates more than 37.6 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. Over 31 million of those will travel by car, while 4.3 million plan to fly and 1.9 million expect to travel by other modes of transportation. Those totals are a slight increase over last year's numbers.

• Visit www.aaa.com/gasprices before starting your trip for gas-saving tips and information on where to find the cheapest gas in your area.

• Holiday travelers will find gas prices nationwide averaging $2.88 for a gallon of regular gasoline Ð up 76 cents from last year. Drivers will pay about 80 cents more in Las Vegas and Reno for a gallon of regular unleaded gas than they did a year ago. On average, the price for a gallon of gas in Reno is $3.31.

- Source: AAA Nevada

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